The Brown Family Files Briefs In Sisters Wives Case In Denver

ad611-sister-wives-season-4Today the briefs of the Brown family arrived at the Denver courthouse in the Sister Wives case now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. (The actual electronic filing was made the night before under the federal ECF system). I continue to serve as lead counsel to the Brown family in their successful challenge of the criminalization of polygamy in Utah. Last year, United States District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups issued the final decision striking down the cohabitation crime used against polygamist in Utah. The State has appealed to the federal court of appeals in Denver and below is our defense of that decision by Judge Waddoups. I want to thank my friend and local counsel (and GW Alum) Adam Alba and all of the students who have worked so hard on this case over the years. This brief benefited from the assistance of Patrick Fenior and Emily Hoyle as well as assistance from GW grad (and my local counsel in the Al-Timimi case) Thomas Huff and my assistant Seth Tate.

We will let the brief speak for itself, but we are eager to present our case in oral argument before the Tenth Circuit. District Court Judge Waddoups made our task all the easier with a brilliant and powerful opinion (discussed and attached here) in defense of the rights of privacy, religious freedom, and due process. (and here) Defending his opinion before the Tenth Circuit is great privilege as is the representation of the Brown family, which has shown tremendous patience and grace throughout this long litigation. While we remain surprised by Utah’s effort to curtail the religious freedom and due process rights protected under the decision, we remain both confident in our position and committed to this case. It is a great honor to defend these constitutional rights and we are prepared to do so as far and as long as it takes to prevail in the litigation.

We waited to post the brief until after we confirmed receipt today. The final version is linked below.

We do not currently have a date for oral argument but I will post the date when it is available. The government has 14 days to file an optional response with the Court.

Jonathan Turley
Lead Counsel

Brown.Opening Brief.MasterFILED

94 thoughts on “The Brown Family Files Briefs In Sisters Wives Case In Denver”

  1. They used to all live together in Utah in one big house. Can you imagine hearing your husband schtoop someone else down the hall? Ugh. Briggs to mind an image of honey and an ant hill.

  2. Karen true, Janelle seems quite satisfied to be left alone. All the wives have their own homes, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like living under the same roof.

  3. I think Jangle just doesn’t want to be bothered with a full time husband.

    Honestly, that’s the only scenario where I think polygamy would be beneficial to the woman. When the woman is just not that interested in having a man around all the time and just wants a part time husband, more interested in the sisterhood and having kids and/or a career without having to devote herself full time to a relationship.

  4. Nick:

    Speaking of soap operas, you should watch Middle Eastern. They NEVER have a happy ending. The theme is always about self sacrifice and bearing up under tragedy. If a couple fall in love, they are doomed. One is going to die and the other one will remain single for the rest of her life in mourning. I watched a few episodes of a Korean soap opera, and it was similarly tragic. Or was that Chinese?

    I love watching foreign movies. The Mexican telenovelas got it right. They go through every conceivable plot line, including sleeping with someone whom the woman thought was her husband but she was tricked by her mother in law because he was gay and she wanted to be a grandma. But they do it in a couple of months and then it’s over. They’re not still desperate for plot lines 20 years later.

  5. The wives are outspoken in the way that Persian women are outspoken.

    I have never met a Persian woman who was not extremely strong willed. The mothers rule the homes and their children with an iron fist. I’ve often wondered how such strong women managed under the grossly unequal treatment they received when they lived in Iran. How is it even possible that these women accepted that?

    But they only are outspoken, in Iran, in certain situations. They can be a “dragon” at home because that’s the extent of their sphere of influence.

    The Brown women ARE very outspoken. Kody likes to say they rule the roost. But one of the episodes I watched, Kody outvoted them because he said he was the head of the house hold. I can’t even remember what the issue was, but the women absolutely opposed him and he basically said the ultimate decision rested with him.

    The women are outspoken, but at the end of the day, they fight their own insecurities, jealousies, and frustrations and allow their husband to sleep with other women. They are convinced that such feelings are ungodly, and they are wrong to have them. So they turn that strength against themselves and fight against perfectly normal, rational objections.

    They only have power in certain situations.

    Unlike the ME, they can legally leave at any time, and in fact, Robin did so in her previous marriage. But that would entail splitting up a very large family and leaving behind everything they know.

    An ex-Amish friend of mine once told me that the girls very rarely leave the Amish. They can’t bear to break up the families or lose their relationships in the fold. It’s easier for the boys to leave, but there is quite a bit more pressure to keep the girls in the fold.

  6. Karen,

    Our kids liked Big Love and told us we should watch. We watched 4 episodes and the only thing I liked was Harry Dean Stanton, the consummate character actor. We both disliked it, too soap opera.

  7. I’ve given Robin et al the benefit of the doubt that they are not aware, or in denial, or fed propaganda on the problem of excess boys in polygamous societies, an unavoidable mathematical outcome.

  8. I do not think the Browns are reflective of the FLDS community. I think these families are more successful at living modern lives when they are more integrated in the rest of the world, as the Browns are. If they live in a polygamous, insulated community, like YFZ, there’s the inevitable math. . . The higher ups in church get all the young girls and the young guys start causing trouble about it.

    The women in Saudi Arabia are legally, literally just chattel, although there have been teeny, tiny baby steps in educating some of them. I know of one princess who’s permitted to ride in endurance races, and is a great rider. The Arabs, including women, were really getting involved in running FEI and other equestrian organizations, but a doping/cheating scandal has had a decidedly negative impact.

Comments are closed.